French Door vs Sliding Door

When it comes to choosing the doors for your front or rear exterior entryways, it can sometimes be difficult to choose between a set of French doors and a sliding glass door. But, if your home is already outfitted with exterior French doors, you can switch over to a sliding glass door, and likewise, if you have a rear exterior sliding glass door, you can relatively easily exchange it for a set of double or French doors. The key factor is the width and height of the rough opening for your exterior entryway—this, in large part, will determine which kind of door or doors can be used for the back-exterior entryway of your home. In addition to the traditional French doors and exterior sliding glass doors, ETO Doors offers exterior doors that work better for specific architectural styles and interior design types, including extra-large folding and sliding exterior bi-fold door systems and bypass (sliding) doors with single lites in a variety of wood frames, like mahogany and oak. This wider variety makes it easier to find a style that works best for the overall design of your home regardless of architecture or the age of the home itself.

Deciding on an exterior door can be difficult, and if you’re on the fence about a design, it can be helpful to review images of varying exterior door styles. Additionally, if you’re considering the pros and cons of exterior porch doors, you can pretty quickly decide on the type of door that will work best for you. Another consideration is the size of the exterior patio door or doors you decide on, and you have to keep in mind that if you are considering French or double doors, you will need to have a rough opening wide enough to accommodate them unless you are doing a complete remodel.

The pros of sliding glass doors

Sliding glass doors offer a lot of upsides, including, but not limited to:

  • An uninterrupted view of the patio or back porch scenery and the outdoors
  • An easy-to-clean surface that requires zero to a small amount of wood care
  • Simple upkeep and maintenance that needs to be done 1–2 times each year will keep your sliding glass door gliding within the frame, and you don’t have to hire a professional to get the job done.
  • When sliding glass doors are new and up-to-date, they can save a tremendous amount of energy, especially when the glass is double or triple-paned.

The cons of sliding glass doors

  • If the door glass gets smashed, you won’t have the option of replacing just one small lite as you would with French exterior doors—you will have to replace a very large pane of glass that could cost as much or more than you paid for the door originally.
  • Older and out-of-date sliding glass doors can leak hot and cold air into and out of the home, costing you more to heat and cool your home.
  • Burglars generally have an easier time getting in through sliding patio doors because they are hidden in the rear of the home and because almost no sliding door systems are made with hurricane-resistant glass, which French doors are commonly made with, and which also stave off easy access for home invaders.

The pros of French doors

  • The lites (panes of glass) typically used these days for French doors is hurricane-grade glass, which makes it much more difficult to break into a home than a large, single sliding glass door.
  • Unlike sliding exterior glass doors, when it’s time to clean and maintain French exterior doors, you won’t have a difficult time reaching the upper portion of glass that’s just out of reach for many people.
  • In most cases, you can find a DIY blog to repair just about any aspect of a French door set, and if you decide later that you want a sliding door system or a set of double doors, you will likely have a rough opening that accommodates their larger sizes.

The cons of French doors

  • French doors can be costly to maintain, and if something happens with the doorknobs, handles, or latching mechanism, you may likely have to hire a pro to come to fix your door, which can be quite costly.
  • Because they come in a pretty wide variety of unusual sizes, finding French doors that fit within the rough opening for your patio door(s) can be difficult, and you may have to special order a custom door or doors, which is generally more expensive.

At the end of the day, chances are, you’re going to choose the type of patio door that speaks to your personal style and interior design. If this is the case for you, knowing the upsides and downsides can be helpful in preventing some wear and tear and ways to avoid the cons associated with the patio door type you choose. When in doubt, feel free to call ETO Doors by dialing 1-888-DOORS-ETO.

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